The arrival of Ademola Lookman in the transfer window paid instant dividends for RB Leipzig as the English winger made an immediate impact by scoring the winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach on his debut for die Roten Bullen. However, it is a further acquisition from England that Leipzig management hope will have an equally important impact off the field- that of Paul Mitchell.
Paul who? I hear you ask, and you would be fully justified in having never heard of him before, but it is hoped the 36-year-old will be a key figure in RB Leipzig maintaining their newly found position at the top end of German football.
Mitchell has been brought to the Red Bull Arena to serve as Head of Recruitment. having been identified as the man to find the players to help feed Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team.
Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick stated this week
I would like to offer Paul Mitchell a warm welcome to Leipzig and I’m delighted that he will be working with us from now on. I am convinced that he is perfect for our team and I am looking forward to locking horns with him many times over potential new signings. He has been very impressive in his previous roles
Those previous roles saw him take on the role of Head of Recruitment and Development at Southampton at the age of just 30 before he took a similar role at Tottenham between 2014 and 2017. Mitchell played for Wigan and MK Dons, but was forced to retire through injury aged just 27. While at Southampton he was credited with the signing of Sadio Mané, Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic amongst others, while at Spurs he is said to have been the one to have spotted Dele Alli.
When Arsenal persuaded the renowned Sven Mislintat to switch to London from Borussia Dortmund it looked as if the Premier League were not content with taking the Bundesliga’s best players, but were now after their best staff too. However, Mitchell’s arrival (and that of players like Jadon Sancho and Ademola Lookman) shows that the German top flight is still an attractive destination for ambitious characters.
Leipzig’s transfer policy thus far has been to only sign talented players aged 24 and under, who they can develop in their style and Mitchell will have a key role to play in that system along with fellow new recruit Benjamin Ehresmann, who was previously working as Chief Scout at New York Red Bulls in the US.
Mitchell said on his unveiling
It’s a great honour and privilege for me to be able to work here in Leipzig and in Germany. I am fascinated by the opportunities that we have here. I’m looking forward to working here with Ralf Rangnick. We will put our heads together and try to develop the club as best as possible
Should Mitchell have the same success he enjoyed in the Premier League and Ralph Hasenhüttl continue develop his young players into a cohesive unit, the new boys from Saxony could be set for a long stay in the upper echelons of the Bundesliga.
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